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Intern in Independent Safety Office - Panetary Protection


  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Noordwijk
  • Grade: Internship - Internship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Security and Safety
  • Closing Date: Closed


Intern in Independent Safety Office - Panetary Protection

Job Requisition ID:  18010
Closing Date:  30 November 2023 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality
Publication:  External Only
Vacancy Type:  Intern
Date Posted:  1 November 2023


Internship Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.


ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.




Our team and mission


This position is based at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) - Noordwijk, Netherlands


The Independent Safety Office is responsible for overseeing the development, implementation, maintenance of ESA policies, requirements, standards and functional support to ESA projects for:

  • Planetary Protection
  • Space Debris Mitigation
  • Nuclear Safety for applications in space
  • Re-entry safety
  • Human Spaceflight Safety


For further information visit our web site:

Field(s) of activity for the internship


Topic: Planetary Protection - Assessment of contamination sources for missions to the Moon




Planetary Protection is the discipline to promote sustainable and responsible explorations in space. The mandate for planetary protection is given by the UN - Outer Space Treaty (Articles VI and IX). State parties to the treaty shall ensure: 1) harmful contamination to celestial bodies is avoided (included the Moon); 2) Earth-Moon are protected by the unintentional release of potentially hazardous matter from space. 


Scientific interest on the Moon is mainly focused on volatiles. These can get trapped on ices in Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) or poles. Why volatiles are of scientific interests?

  • They might be leftovers of pre-biotic organic matter delivered to the Moon from the Solar System (and possibly beyond).
  • Cosmic rays hit Lunar polar ices and trigger the synthesis of organic molecules. Understanding these processes is extremely important to understand similar processes also happening in outer Solar System (i.e. Icy bodies). Given the vicinity of the Moon, the lunar poles are arguably the most accessible locations where this can be studied.


Objective(s) of the Activity 


This activity is focused in assessing the consequences for scientific investigations (aimed at understanding chemical evolution and origin of life in our Solar System), because of contaminants introduction coming from Moon’s orbiters and landers 



The objectives for this work are:

  • Assess the current measures and guidelines proposed by the COSPAR PP Policy (2021) for missions to the Moon (category II, IIa & IIb);
  • Assess the organic materials and propulsion products carried by spacecrafts, orbiters and lander (with target the Earth’s Moon);
  • Determine the risk for scientific experiments or investigations caused by organic materials introduction;
  • Assess any other type of contamination (i.e. inorganic, dust, nuclear, etc.) that could have ramifications / cross overs with planetary protection and potentially affect scientific goals. 

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


You must have student status and be enrolled at university for the entire duration of the internship. You should preferably be in your final or second to last year of a university course at master’s level in a technical or scientific discipline.

Additional requirements

The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset.


Additional Requirements:

  • Knowledge and background in organic contamination is an asset
  • Knowledge and background in planetary protection is an asset

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.


If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email

Internships can take place remotely, on-site or partially on-site depending on the pandemic situation, and in line with the relevant Establishment’s policy (e.g. possible Green Pass requirement) applicable at the time of starting the internship.


Please note that applications are only considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus as European Cooperating States (ECS).

This vacancy is now closed.
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